With the NFL bye weeks hitting four teams this week instead of just two, fantasy owners are now without the services of double the running backs they missed in Week 4.
The Dallas Cowboys’ DeMarco Murray, Oakland Raiders’ Darren McFadden, Detroit Lions’ Mikel Leshoure and Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Doug Martin may all be watching the games on TV like we will will be in Week 5.
Those are some big names at RB.
Fantasy lineups have to get filled somehow, though. Here are my top 40 candidates to start at running back in Week 5.
1. Marshawn Lynch, Seattle Seahawks (at Carolina Panthers)
Lynch is getting at least 20 carries per week. Carolina is giving up more than five yards per carry to running backs, as well as yielding the most receptions (42) to players at the tailback position.
Lynch should be in for a monster day.
2. Ray Rice, Baltimore Ravens (at Kansas City Chiefs)
Rice, with seemingly limited touches, has put together a first quarter of the fantasy season that leaves him ranked second among RBs in standard scoring.
While he only has 64 rushing attempts on the season, the Ravens' running back is still averaging more than 20 touches per game.
The Chiefs have allowed 32 combined fantasy points to opposing teams’ backfields in two of the last three weeks.
3. Arian Foster, RB, Houston Texans (at New York Jets)
The Jets are allowing 4.5 yards per carry to running backs. Foster has gotten at least 24 carries in each game this season. That should work out favorably for Foster’s fantasy owners.
4. Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings (vs. Tennessee Titans)
The Vikings have ramped up Peterson’s workload recently, giving him 46 carries in his last two games. Tennessee is a favorable matchup for fantasy RBs. They’ve yielded at least one rushing touchdown to a running back in each game this year.
5. Reggie Bush, Miami Dolphins (at Cincinnati Bengals)
Bush took 17 carries in Week 4 despite coming into the game with concerns about an injured knee. If he gets that kind of work in Week 5, he should do well against a Bengals defense that has allowed more than five yards per carry this year.
6. LeSean McCoy, Philadelphia Eagles (at Pittsburgh Steelers)
The only guy who has faced the Steelers' run defense with any sort of talent comparable to that of McCoy in this stage of his career is Darren McFadden.
McFadden ran for 113 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries against Pittsburgh.
If Troy Polamalu and James Harrison are available for duty, however, McCoy’s ranking will have to drop a bit.
7. Frank Gore, San Francisco 49ers (vs. Buffalo Bills)
Gore bounced back nicely with his third touchdown of the season in four weeks. The Bills are fresh off getting steamrolled in the run game during Week 4.
8. Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs (vs. Baltimore Ravens)
Despite the Ravens’ stellar reputation (and respectable yards allowed per carry number), the guys in the purple jerseys have yielded at least one rushing touchdown to running backs each week.
9. Trent Richardson, Cleveland Browns (at New York Giants)
Richardson has scored in three straight weeks and might be the only trusted option on the Browns’ offense right now. That should translate into a lot of touches.
10. Matt Forte, Chicago Bears (at Jacksonville Jaguars)
Forte averaged four yards per carry against a good Cowboys defense on Monday Night Football with a bad ankle. It was sort of a strange game offensively, as the Bears benefited from five Tony Romo interceptions.
That gave the Bears good field position and left few yards to really be gained, especially as the game got out of hand late. Jacksonville has allowed 4.3 yards per carry this season. A healthy Forte should be well worth a start against the Jaguars.
11. Alfred Morris, Washington Redskins (vs. Atlanta Falcons)
12. Maurice Jones-Drew, Jacksonville Jaguars (vs. Chicago Bears)
13. Willis McGahee, Denver Broncos (at New England Patriots)
14. Chris Johnson, Tennessee Titans (at Minnesota Vikings)
15. BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Cincinnati Bengals (vs. Miami Dolphins)
16. Cedric Benson, Green Bay Packers (at Indianapolis Colts)
17. Ahmad Bradshaw, New York Giants (vs. Cleveland Browns)
18. Ryan Mathews, San Diego Chargers (at New Orleans Saints)
19. C.J. Spiller, Buffalo Bills (at San Francisco 49ers)
20. Stevan Ridley, New England Patriots (vs. Denver Broncos)
21. Michael Turner, Atlanta Falcons (at Washington Redskins)
22. Darren Sproles, New Orleans Saints (vs. San Diego Chargers)
23. Jackie Battle, San Diego Chargers (at New Orleans Saints)
24. Steven Jackson, St. Louis Rams (vs. Arizona Cardinals)
25. Donald Brown, Indianapolis Colts (vs. Green Bay Packers)
26. Ryan Williams, Arizona Cardinals (at St. Louis Rams)
27. DeAngelo Williams, Carolina Panthers (vs. Seattle Seahawks)
28. Fred Jackson, Buffalo Bills (at San Francisco 49ers)
29. Robert Turbin, Seattle Seahawks (at Carolina Panthers)
30. Ben Tate, Houston Texans (at New York Jets)
31. Michael Bush, Chicago Bears (at Jacksonville Jaguars)
32. Jonathan Stewart, Carolina Panthers (vs. Seattle Seahawks)
33. Andre Brown, New York Giants (vs. Cleveland Browns)
34. Pierre Thomas, New Orleans Saints (vs. San Diego Chargers)
35. Rashard Mendenhall, Pittsburgh Steelers (vs. Philadelphia Eagles)
36. Daniel Thomas, Miami Dolphins (at Cincinnati Bengals)
37. Shonn Greene, New York Jets (vs. Houston Texans)
38. Bilal Powell, New York Jets (vs. Houston Texans)
39. Jacquizz Rodgers, Atlanta Falcons (at Washington Redskins)
40. Mark Ingram, New Orleans Saints (vs. San Diego Chargers)